Why now? Animal has been a dedicated parts-only company for its entire existence (Skavenger not withstanding). What was the motivation to make a frame in 2023? I believe the idea had been tossed around for a long time. People have always asked us about doing a frame. The concept of a full Animal complete bike always sounded cool, but for whatever reason it never happened. In 2020 I started having John Corts build customs frames for me. His reputation for quality speaks for itself. He builds the best bikes. That relationship with him sparked the idea again for doing a run of frames. We went back and forth on some ideas and here we are today.
Where does the name come from? The name Red Eye comes from the original Animal logo. In that logo the griffin has a red eye. Subtle detail that I think went over a lot of peoples heads, but when you're high of course you have red eyes. It seemed like a fitting name given the legacy of the brand.
USA made. There's been a movement on the part of Animal to have more USA made parts the last couple of years, is this part of a master plan or logistics or something else? The return to USA made stuff over the last few years has been a big project of mine. It's partially by design, but logistics have played a part as well. The big picture plan is a foreign and domestic line of select items. High quality American made parts for the people who take pride in that, and don't mind the extra cost associated with supporting their country, along with a more accessible versions made in Taiwan for those that want the same quantity, but a little less expensive and easier to get. Shipping an American made stem across the globe isn't always affordable or possible for the rest of the world. The pandemic played a big part in how that has played out, too. When the factories overseas were slammed and there were long delays on having stuff made, along with the increased shipping costs, it really was a no brainer to offer stuff made here in America.
Interesting release format with dealers first, Animal direct second, and International third. It makes sense and shows love for the dealers. Curious about each release being "color coded". What's the reasoning behind this? The last few years have been rough for everyone in BMX, not just companies, but shops, too. We're all in this together and we wanted to support the shops that have supported us. We sold out of the first 50 frames in a day and a half and most shops had their frames sold before they even arrived. Each batch being a different color came out of me being a collector of older BMX stuff and liking limited edition runs of things. It's cool knowing you're only one of a few people to have something. The chase of completing a collection is half the fun of collecting in the first place. It makes each batch special.
The super progressive geometry is steep and deep and makes a statement about Animal's dedication to street. Are there any concerns that it will exclude some more traditional Animal heads from getting onboard? Animal has always been a progressive street company. We were the first with a replaceable plastic sleeve peg, we popularized the 4-piece bar for street riding, the first pivotal seat to use our own base, videos that were all street when that wasn't normal, etc. We've always been forward thinking and evolved with the trends in street riding and the frame is no exception. I know some people plan on getting the frame and hanging it on their wall, but I designed this thing to be ridden and the geometry is in line with the current trends for street frames. It's a limited collector piece, but at the end of the day it's a frame built for street riding in 2023.
Who has been testing the frames prior to release? For the last 3 years John Corts at JC Metal Works has been building custom frames for me that have essentially been the prototype of this frame. I've ridden a lot of bikes over the last 25 years and I can confidently say these are the best frames I've ever ridden. I destroy bikes and his frames hold up.